We are always positive
We have just completed working-out a plan with our employees that will keep our staff and the company “alive” for the next year, even though we think that tourism must plan for a three-year business recovery horizon. Since we opened KInasi Lodge 25 years ago, we have faced two Gulf Wars with associated travel advisories against our country, the Global Financial Crisis, the Ebola outbreaks, the loss of direct British Airways flights in 2012, BREXIT and other economic downturns in Europe, SARS, MERS and now COVID-19. Concurrently we have had many challenges at home with hikes in costs imposed by institutions such as national parks, civil aviation and district councils. The private sector is constantly engaging with government to pro-actively review and amend these and will be stepping-up our activities now. Our specific focus now is to have the marine park fee in Mafia halved.
What is our answer to the current crisis ? In all past cases we have discovered that taking a pragmatic but thoughtful response that is essentially “business as usual” is the only way to move forward and act. Sending out plaintive videos and messages is not productive and informative and may be downright negative. So this is a message with information on what we are doing as usual, which is upgrading and improving Kinasi and making it better for our guests and to improve the product for our agents and their trust in us. To be the original and the best. To set the standard. This year will see our 25th anniversary realized and that is what we will propose as our turbo-boost for the coming season.
Most of all, Kinasi is home to us and is our pride and joy so we want to be the best and offer the best experience we can afford and within our capability. Our Mafian staff are our key asset and we can send you hundreds of testimonials to that fact from our guests, most important of all accolades.
We have replaced all thatched roofs with permanent roof sheeting because coconut thatch is no longer sustainable with the poles required (many hundreds for a single roof) often harvested illegally and the demand for thatch itself causing prices to become ridiculous for local people for their houses PLUS it no longer lasts with the “climate variability” we experience in our part of the world.
We will also install air-conditioning in rooms to meet the demand for modern amenities and comfort even (though we think AC is not that good for health) and we will have electronic controls to ensure the minimum energy use.
We are replacing our public area buildings with NOMADIK stretch-fabric tent structures that are beautiful and functional and allow a high degree of imagination in soft furnishings, which we are enjoying with new fabrics, sofa chairs and re-jigging the bar and lounge areas. The Reception and bar-Lounge-Dining are being refurbished this way. Unfortunately the lock-down in South Africa may affect our timeline, but we plan to be ready by July.
Dive Centre & Excursions
This has seen a complete revolution with three new fibreglass boats for diving, snorkeling & turtle-hatching trips and the third new boat for whale shark excursions. In addition, the traditional dhow “Tabasam” has been overhauled for picnics, extra diving and snorkeling capacity.
The Dive Centre itself has been completely re-designed and re-built in 2019/20 and is now endowed with a large verandah for sundowners and planning the next day with some barbecued skewers and drinks of choice
The Efficiency Drive
The last two years have been one of investment in facilities that ensure our staff can be efficient and serve our guests better. Hence new fridges, ice machines, washing machine and vehicle for our guest transfers and road excursions.
What is on for our 25th anniversary
Our big push now is for incredible food and beverages. What does that mean ? New menus and wider choice are in place for lunch and dinner. We are importing our own wine selections and these wil be delivered at incredible prices and will essentially be “house” wines but carefully sampled produce that we are bottling ourselves in Zanzibar from bulk imports. We are also dabbling with in-house beer brewing – especially an “Island IPA” – and almost there ! It is crazy to be bringing bottled beer to Mafia and shipping empties back so we are working hard on a plan for micro-brewery project.
Looking back, looking forward:
For 25 years, KINASI LODGE has been a pioneer in slowly developing Mafia Island’s tourism in a sustainable, low-impact, low volume, nature experience manner and to promote its people and its wonderful attractions, especially its quiet, safe and all-round island destination experiences. There is no other destination that has so much to offer, taken care of by the friendliest and kindest people I have ever known in my 65+ years. Mafia enables us to fulfil our wish to bring you genuine Island Life that make a difference in the lives of both our guests and the people of our island. When you arrive at Kinasi we wish you to become part of our extended family because we have been able to live a wonderful life here, raise our daughter in a beautiful. nature-rich location and make a difference to many other people. Many of our staff are all related and all are Mafians (it is our policy) and this emphasizes the “family” affair that Kinasi represents.
In the meantime we hope you have been enjoying life in spite of all the social distancing challenges and the amazing music and even concerts that are coming our way over the internet. We are witnessing truly extraordinary actions by people of all races and locations dealing with COVID but also meeting all the attendant problems that arise in keeping things going – food, supplies, transport and so on.
With all best wishes,
Antonella & Peter Byrne and all our team of Kinasi Lodge